This is a photo that I've taken in Ani, near Armenia:


The problem of this photo is that there are many shadows, particularly on gorge, and highlights near the horizon, on the right side. The weather condition and the position of the sun wasn't really good. What's the best way to produce this photo on Lightroom to try to recover informations without loosing quality?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The best way to correct your perceived problems with this image is to shoot it correctly! Select a time of day when the light is more favorable to the look you desire and/or use a graduated neutral density filter. You could also shoot a bracketed set of exposures at, say -3, 0, +3, and combine them using layers, exposure fusion, or other HDR type techniques. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ For future reference, see What techniques do you employ to control contrast in your landscape shots? for improving the original rather than relying on post-processing. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Really the answer for this is a whole book - Photoshop LAB color: the canyon conundrum and other adventures... and when the headache you get after reading it has subsided you'll want to reprocess half your collection. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for all your suggestions! @JamesSnell there is some free books like that one you cited? \$\endgroup\$
    – apt45
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 18:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop i don't understand why of your comment. I know that this image hasn't any value(in fact I'm asking to you for some suggestions) and I don't use to write a link on my photos. But this is the first time that I post in photo.exchange and I uploaded my photo without any reference to me. I don't know what could happen, so please don't mind on my problems if you have just to say that you are better than another one. \$\endgroup\$
    – apt45
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 23:31

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't change the image at all. You could lift the shadows slightly with the shadows slider or even increase the exposure(which would require compensation of highlights to save the sky), but I don't think this image needs either. If you did lift the shadows it would all start to look pretty mute which to me is not desirable.

You have more options if you were to reshoot this with either a grad-ND filter and or by shooting multiple exposures for an HDR or exposure fusion image.


Hopefully you shot raw. Then you can come a long way with 3 mechanics:

  • highlights down to bring out more detail in the sky vs snowy mountains
  • shadows up, to make hte details in the gorge more visible for the human eye. if noisy in black part because visible, adjust black level down to remove that.
  • clarity up. when people are in thw photo clarity over 15 makes them look kinda sick but for buildings and landscape I find it brings out a lot of rustic details. In your composition there is a risk that you will see halo between ground and sky, but you can paint on clarity.

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